In our 12 Questions blog series, we feature interviews with someone from the crowdSPRING community. For these interviews, we pick people who add value to our community – in the blog, in the forums, in the projects. Plainly – activities that make crowdSPRING a better community. Be professional, treat others with respect, help us build something very special, and we’ll take notice.
We’re very proud to feature Sandie (crowdSPRING username: cornflakes) today. Sandie lives and works in Indiana, USA.
1) Please tell us about yourself.
Hi! My name is Sandra, and I live in a small rural town in Indiana. My husband and I, and our youngest daughter moved here about 8 years ago, after having lived in the Chicago suburbs most of our lives. The simple, small town lifestyle has always been a dream of mine. I prepared for the move a year in advance by digging up most of my front and back yards….(I had spent 15 years planting trees and flowers in those yards, to the point that there no longer was any lawn, just mulched pathways through the flora.) I knew that most people prefer the typical suburban type yard, complete with grass, and would most likely not know what to do with all the abundance of plantings. I couldn’t bear the thought of my beautiful botanicals being discarded. So, for a year I waited till each season’s offerings emerged and bloomed, then I carefully dug everything that was not too big to move. Our driveway was full of 5 gallon buckets, flower pots, plastic dishpans , 20 gallon rope-handled containers, basically anything that could hold a tree, shrub, or plant. There were a lot of things that were just unmovable, so the yard still looked amazing. I put in a lawn. When we started having drive-by shootings in our neighborhood, we knew it was time to leave.
For the first year it was only me and our daughter here. My husband had to stay behind and run his business. It took that time in order for him to be able to successfully move the business to this location. He came out to the country to see us on the weekends. I kept busy making gardens from all my transplants that we brought.
Our town is tiny. It’s the kind with the one blinking stoplight. “Town” itself consists of a bank, library, post office, liquor store, grocery store, pizza place, hair salon, auto parts store, police and volunteer fire station. That’s about it! As for our home, we are nestled into woods on two sides, and in the back. The across-the-road neighbors are hidden behind evergreens, so we enjoy that borrowed view as well. There is pasture, and then more woods behind the first set of woods in the back. I love the peacefulness of this place.
2) How did you become interested in writing?
I have felt an affinity for words as long as I can remember. As a child I loved to read. I have clear memories of sitting and reading the 2 huge old dictionaries my parents had. These tomes had tons of pictures in the middle, all separated by clear tissue paper pages. Then my parents bought the World Book Encyclopedia set for my sister and me.Lots of reading material there! Magazines such as Reader’s Digest, Family Circle, and Woman’s Day regularly came in the mail, and I loved them too. Actually, one of my earliest memories is of lying on the living room floor, reading, (yes, I said reading) the phone book. Are you saying, “weirdo!”? I am saying,”yeah, I know.”
3) Who/what are some of the biggest influences on your writing?
My mom had a big influence on my interest in words. She was very smart, although she was forced to quit school after the 9th grade, due to illness in her family. She had loved school, and was very sad to have to leave. I remember her always having proper grammar, and diction. Also, in the 4th grade my class was given the assignment to write a poem. My poem was called “The Ocean”, and I remember my teacher making a big deal out of it, hanging it up on the wall in the hallway, and giving me an A. She then asked me if I was related to a famous novelist, as we shared the same last name. I had never heard of that author at that time, and said “no, I don’t think so”. But it stuck in my mind. I thought of the author often through the years, as I realized how much I loved to write, and I imagined that …hey, maybe I AM related to her!!! When I grew up and investigated, I found that the same-name we shared was her married name, so there was no writing talent DNA linkage going on. But, it was fun to think of for awhile.
4) Please tell us about your favorite projects.
Well, I am a newbie here, so there haven’t been too many projects yet that I’ve participated in. However, there is one clear favorite. That would be the clot retriever product. The client on that project was spectacular! He (or she..I never found out which) had the most excellent communication skills, and gave feedback consistently. I woke up every morning excited to work again on that project. I even would get ideas in the middle of the night, get up and write down the names, then go back to bed. I always knew that if a name wasn’t liked, there would be an explanation as to why. Same for if it was liked. I didn’t have to guess. If I could clone a buyer, it would be him (her?) It’s so frustrating when the clients don’t give feedback. In the case of them giving us low scores, we can see that they don’t like our names, yet we don’t know why. All we can do is try and cover each possible name style,and throw some ideas out there. I tend to give up early on those projects that do not offer feedback. I do try to ask them questions to give me some type of clue as to what direction to go in, but most times get no response to that either. Which leaves me with the feeling that I have no clue what they want. So, absolutely, kudos to “Dheilbru”, whoever you are, you were amazing!
5) What types of writing interest you the most?
As far as what I do, I enjoy working on the naming projects the most. Taglines would be second favorite. And as for what others do, I like history, botanical subjects, and “how to” instructables on various subjects.
6) You have 12 children, 8 dogs, 2 cats, 2 parrots, 2 parakeets 2 goats, assorted chickens, ducks, geese, rabbits, guineas, pigeons, and 1 turkey. How do you make time for creativity?
Well, 11 of the children are out on their own. Our youngest graduated high school last year, and now attends college. And the animals don’t require constant care, just need to be fed, watered, and have their housing needs addressed here and there. There’s always time for creativity! As for having all these animals, here’s the scoop: We came to this home with 2 small dogs. The rest of the cats and dogs have all been rescues in one way or another. Some were dropped off here, some were from neighbors who asked us to take them in, and some were found wandering on the road, in danger of getting run over, or being harassed by other dogs. That’s how we acquired them all. The 2 big parrots were given to us as well, when we still lived in the city, by people who could no longer care for them. Same story with the ferrets. I think word is getting out that we are suckers for animals. With the barnyard animals, it happened like this. We first thought it would be cool to get our daughter some pekin ducks. Then when I went to the feed store for duck food, I saw that they had a rabbit for sale, so I got her that too. Living in the country, it wasn’t long before she found out about 4H, which led to the acquisition of some muscovey ducks, then some chicks, and more rabbits, and so on. The first goat was a birthday present for her. Two baby Canada geese showed up here, after being orphaned. Two other geese were bought, then 2 babies were born to them. Our animals are strictly pets, other than the eggs we get from the chickens. I have learned a lot from having this small farm. I now can mend fences, vaccinate goats, splint injured poultry legs, build coops, make compost enclosures, as well as having gotten understanding of animal behavior. Our daughter can ride horses like a champ, and knows way more about animals than she ever would have learned in the city. I wish this option of country living had been available for all our kids.
7) What kind of on-line resources do you use?
I use “go daddy” to check for domain availability, usually. And “Thesaurus.com”, and sometimes “google translate”. I have been known to sit in the evening, while my husband watches tv, and actually skim through a big ole Webster’s Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary….just for inspiration, and to learn new words. Yeah, I know, again with the weird. Oh well, that’s me.
8) How do you promote your work?
Ummmm, I don’t. Not my cS work, anyway.
9) Please describe your typical work day.
I am up by 5 AM, most days. I pass from my bedroom, through the “bird room”, where the Amazon parrot, and the blue and gold macaw usually greet me with squawks. The parakeets are singing and twittering. I find this a happy start to my day. I will then stop and say “Good morning little creatures”, to the 2 ferrets..(recently given to my daughter), as they wake up and come to the front of their cage.
I feed the dogs, and let them out. I make coffee while waiting for the computer to wake up. I will check my email, and usually check cS for contest comments, or new postings, maybe enter some names if the feeling hits me. I wait for the sun to come up, then go outside and care for the critters out there, probably for an hour or so.
My life is pretty boring ~ not a whole lot going on, other than animals, housework, cooking, and some projects that I do from time to time. More of that later.
10) What is your favorite book?
I have tons of books, mostly on the subjects of horticulture, be it garden design, or specific plant types, (such as ornamental grasses, hostas, daylilies, trees, shrubs, etc. ) I also have a lot of cookbooks, and a lot of history books. I would say that my favorite would be a set of books by Steven M Collins, on the history of the tribes of Israel, through their ancient migrations. The books are extremely insightful, and very well documented, and I learned so much from them.
11) If you weren’t writing, what would you be doing?
I would probably spend more time with my nursery business, although I don’t feel the need to sacrifice one for the other.
12) What do you do with your free time?
Hmmm, free time. Free time is sort of a paradox. In one sense, I have nothing but free time, as I do not have the typical “job” to go to. I have my plant business here at home, with no time constraints. I can work at it, or not. Really my “work” at this point in my life is more of a hobby, so I pretty much make my own schedule. I do feel the need to create…something….all the time. So, I do various little projects, like make wooden birdhouses, and gourd birdhouses, decorate and sell them. Only I end up loving them, and so keep more than I try to sell.
I also dabble in home remodeling types of projects. I recently tired of the carpet in the living room/dining room of our home. It was old already when we moved in, and 8 dogs haven’t helped that situation any. What I found underneath was just a plywood floor. Not having the money to put in nice wood flooring, or whatever, I got online and did some research. I found that I could make a paper bag floor, very inexpensively, using just grocery bags and glue. Google “paper bag floor”, you’ll be surprised! I alternated my grocery bags with some colored paper, some green, some postal wrap paper,some brick red paper. I am very impressed with the result., and while it’s still a work in progress, everyone who sees it is amazed. It looks like slate or stone!! So, there’s that to finish, and polyurethane.
I’m interested in using part of our pasture land to grow some food for our animals. At the present it contains a lot of native grasses, most of which is “little bluestem”. I’d like to devote part of the land to raising some wheat, field corn, sorghum, and the like, to use for animal feed. I would also like to turn part of it into a wildflower prairie.
There is a child’s playhouse on the property that’s in need of repair. I want to get it in shape, and paint and decorate it, and have a treasure chest full of toys inside. This will be for the grand kids, when they visit.
Right now the left side of my long driveway is filled to the brim with huge piles of mulch, thanks to the county tree service. All of it will need to be moved this coming spring,and used for mulching the many flower beds and gardens, for making paths in the woods, some for compost piles, and some for animal bedding.
Come spring there will be vegetable gardens to plant, garden beds to weed and spruce up, animal housing cleaned up, then summer and all its chores, then walnuts to be picked up and taken to the tree nursery, …. the list goes on and on. I like to stay busy. So, I guess there really isn’t any free time after all. But I wouldn’t have it any other way.
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